For 15 years, bright and cheery East Shore Café, in downtown Daphne, has been welcoming folks to its happy, homey atmosphere. The charming eatery boasts an array of seating options: under umbrellas at the festive, red, octagonal picnic tables in the garden; at bistro tables on the Southern-style porch; or in the air-conditioned interior of the yellow, century-old, historic house. (Bar seating on the porch overlooks the yard so customers can feel comfortable dining solo, too.) Owners Larry Mickelsen and John Sibley describe the cuisine as “American casual, ” and they say that most of their regulars have become part of their “café family.”
“We have customers that have been coming in since day one, ” Mickelsen says.
The café opens at 7 a.m. every day except Monday, tempting early risers with breakfast fare such as banana nut French toast and Belgian waffles. At lunchtime, signature dishes include crab and corn chowder, homemade quiche, omelets and famous crab cakes. A California club sandwich and cranberry chicken salad are other top midday sellers. The kitchen also regularly prepares grilled cheese, peanut butter and jelly, and BLT sandwiches, though none of them are listed on the menu.
On Friday and Saturday nights, completely different offerings are available, which is a bit of a local secret. Dinner specials range from chicken piccata and seafood Newburg to roast pork loin and Cajun pasta. There is always a fresh fish dish, along with a meat du jour, often veal or filet. Desserts include Key lime pie, peanut butter pie, French silk pie, hummingbird cake and sometimes cheesecake. The restaurant does not offer alcohol, but patrons may bring their own at a charge of $1 per person.
On the Menu
Crab and Corn Chowder
This creamy, flavorful soup, chock-full of corn and sweet crabmeat, is dusted with an ample hail of parsley and fresh Parmesan.
Sizable twin cakes, very moist and nicely spiced with big bits of bell pepper, come drizzled with a snappy Creole mustard remoulade sauce and are topped with tufts of alfalfa sprouts.
This top-notch sandwich is ooey, gooey and utterly delicious—a perfect version of the classic. Thin, savory corned beef, sliced in house, is bathed in Russian dressing and melted cheese and capped with sauerkraut, all on grilled rye.
Key Lime Pie
The traditional treat is dense, tangy, tart citrus custard pie in graham cracker crust.
East Shore Café • 7 a.m. – 3 p.m. Tu – Su. 5 p.m. – 9 p.m. F / Sa. 1506 Main St., Daphne. 625-0055.
text by Sallye Irvine • photo by Ashley Rowe